The doors are closed on the beebPlayer app

beebPlayerDave Johnston has removed the excellent beebPlayer app from the Android Market following news on the new Froyo software update coming out later this year.

The BBC are currently developing an Android version of their popular mobile iPlayer app but it’s still sad to see all of Dave’s work go to nothing.

beebPlayer was a constantly updated iPlayer app that would allow you to browse and watch iPlayer programmes and BBC Radio. Later versions of the app also added support for Live TV streaming but this later broke (when BBC changed something no doubt).

Dave wrote the following on his blog:

It looks like with Android 2.2 (Froyo), beebPlayer will finally have served its purpose for users of current Android handsets, as it seems this edition of Android will feature Flash 10. So says Andy Rubin of Google:

He also promised that full support for Adobe’s Flash standard was coming in the next version of Android, code-named Froyo, for frozen yogurt (previous Android releases were called Cupcake, Donut and Eclair, and are represented outside Building 44 on the Google campus with giant sculptures of the desserts). Sometimes being open “means not being militant about the things consumer are actually enjoying,” he said.

This combined with the BBC’s previous announcement of iPlayer for Android devices – powered by the same Flash 10 – should mean that Android phones will get complete and proper access to BBC iPlayer content, including the bits that have eluded beebPlayer – like on-demand (‘listen again’) radio and high-def video.

Of course, many handsets (such as the G1) probably won’t get the see Android 2.2, so I’ll be maintaining beebPlayer as long as is reasonable and manageable, to ensure those users can still access some iPlayer content.

Android 2.2 is due in the next month or two for Nexus One and HTC Desire, but the popular HTC Hero is currently unaccounted for.

This is sad news for Android owners as we all want to “support the man”. I’m sure the official iPlayer app is going to be good (and will allow downloading of content), but there’s something about a homegrown app going under that’s sad…



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13 Responses to “The doors are closed on the beebPlayer app”

  1. Si Says:

    Sad thing is, any requests the BBC at less likely to listen to them than a “small” developer.

    I wonder if BBC will have seen his App and will consider the features, I love the “breaking news” notification… although sometimes BBC breaking news feed has the most ridiculous unimportant articles.

  2. Jon Says:

    Wow I didn’t know it even had a breaking news function..! Can’t see it anywhere in version 0.6.5…

    Yeah the BBC’s development of the iPlayer app is dog-slow at best. I remember waiting months and months for the Symbian version and even then it was buggy. Updates were not frequent either… :-s

    • Si Says:

      The Symbian one is just a website anyway…

      Native app please!

      RE: News notification…

      I am confusing BBC News with beepPlayer! Doh!

      The news app I am using is “BBC News (version 2.4.0)
      “Application written by Jim Blackler”
      “Supported by

      Has a 2×1 widget, although it’s a bit pap/plain.

      Kind of explains why :p

      I guess you’re using the HTC News widget, nice that its basically an RSS read but it’s a bit pap with bbc as the bbc news article summary is way way too short, and you have to load the whole page to view the main one.

      • Jon Says:

        Ah I see, that’s where we got things mixed up 😉

        Haven’t tried out the BBC app yet but it’s got to be better than the non-auto-updating HTC one!

  3. DavidH Says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but won’t streaming a show over iPlayer eat up bandwidth really quickly or does the mobile version stream a smaller resolution file? any examples of episode time and the bandwidth involved would be great. Thanks.

    • Jon Says:

      Hi David, streaming doesn’t take up as much as you might think. Here are a few examples I’ve just pulled up from the beebPlayer app:

      Friday Night with Jonathan Ross
      59 minutes
      WiFi: 82MB 3G: 48MB

      Have I Got News for You
      29 minutes
      WiFi: 40MB 3G: 23MB

      So you can see these programmes are quite well compressed for mobile devices…

  4. dave Says:


  5. barcelo Says:

    should I be able to view any iplayer action through a regular browser on the desire (i have skyfire, dolphin hd, opera etc) and none of them will load a show through the browser (even at poor quality)

    • Jon Says:

      The problem with Skyfire and Opera is the connection goes through their own servers (in the US) and then gets compressed before being sent to your phone. This means that players like the iPlayer will detect an American IP address and therefore think you are trying to access the page from outside the UK. You will therefore not be able to watch the iPlayer through these apps. If you give it a few months the BBC should have their official app out for Android phones.

  6. Lou Says:

    Skyfire works happily for me with listen again for radio programmes, though I am base in the UK.

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